With religious faith now reduced to low levels throughout the Western World except for the more fundamentalist sects which are still actively proselytising, it was only a question of time before the universal desire of homo sapiens for reassurance against extinction produced a new belief system.
The time is now, and what amounts to a new religion is sweeping the planet, gaining converts by the millions as it goes. It started out as Global Warming, a scientific theory that the earth is getting warmer due to human activity with catastrophic consequences to follow.
Global Warming was quietly discarded when data accumulated showing that for the last eleven years, average temperatures worldwide had remained level, or in some years had actually fallen. The 'warming' became Climate Change, a portmanteau term which can accommodate rises and falls in global temperatures as well as any and all climatic phenomena including seasonal hurricanes, retreating glaciers, blizzards in the arctic, floods in China, droughts in Australia and reduced egg production by battery hens.
As with its predecessors, believers in the new religion are immune to attempts to question the Articles of Faith and would exact severe penalties if they could on those who question these beliefs as did the Inquisition some four hundred years ago.
The erudite and respected scientist, Galileo Galilei was forced to discard his impious scientific theory that the earth was not the centre of the universe and that the sun did not circle its flat surface every 24 hours, neither did the moon and the stars. Galileo narrowly escaped fiery death at the stake for questioning the received wisdom of the scientific community, and he recanted just in time.
There is a striking similarity about the Galileo Affair and the Global Warming belief system. In Galileo's lifetime, those fortunate enough to be able to afford it could buy Indulgences from the church which would dramatically reduce the time spent in purgatory after death while their sins were forgiven them. Now, sinners who pollute the atmosphere with CO2 can obtain absolution and forgiveness by buying 21st century Indulgences, now labeled Emissions Trading Taxes. Once paid for, their sins will be forgiven and they can continue to emit the evil vapour, paying as they go with more Emissions Trading Tax.
Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.